The iGaming industry is no stranger to burgeoning trends, especially ones with innovation and development at their centre. Little wonder, then, that the ever-growing crypto market has found a strong foundation in the realm of digital gambling. iGaming, more so than traditional video gaming, has become a natural partner to the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry, with global crypto-gambling sectors reportedly expected to accrue up to $90 billion by the end of 2024 (according to crypto tax specialists Koinly).
There are several reasons why the iGaming space is such a strong use case for the application of decentralized currencies — and vice versa — not least of which includes anonymity and security. But what is crypto gambling exactly? And is it something that any keen online gambler can get to grips with?
Keep reading to find out more!
What Exactly is Crypto Gambling?
Crypto gambling is essentially the fusion of iGaming activities like playing online casino games or betting on sports events. Only, it’s with cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Quite simply, it’s a way to participate in digital gambling activities using tokens like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether, and various other altcoins. Most crypto-gambling platforms either fall into the category of being established operators who’ve expanded their accepted payment methods to incorporate non-fiat currencies. Or new gambling-focused projects that offer native crypto-gambling tokens.
Whether they’re online bookies or crypto casinos, any platform that is blockchain-friendly will allow players to deposit one or multiple tokens into their accounts and make withdrawals in those coins too. Some platforms even allow players to connect their digital wallets to their accounts so they can retain custody of their funds while playing.
Tell Me About the Pros and Cons
As with any kind of iGaming activity, there are several pros and cons involved with crypto gambling. They’re not just applicable to beginners either. Even the most experienced online player or crypto enthusiast can make mistakes while playing with Bitcoin.
Let’s start with the advantages of using cryptocurrencies for betting and gaming online.
Firstly, cryptocurrencies provide a level of anonymity and security that traditional gambling payment methods like debit card deposits and bank transfers can’t. Using crypto, punters can place bets without having to reveal any of their sensitive information. The security of crypto gambling is further strengthened by the transparency of blockchain technology. Every transaction with cryptocurrencies is on a digital ledger. This makes hacking or fraud virtually impossible.
Further pros of playing with crypto include:
Fast transactions, with deposits and withdrawals, sometimes occurring instantly 24/7 accessibility Provably fair games
As for the drawbacks of crypto gambling, most of them relate to the fact that currently, the blockchain industry is an unregulated one. The decentralized nature of crypto means that there are no institutions overseeing the handling of your funds. But this can be mitigated by using the right marketplaces and crypto brokers and, of course, only gambling at licensed platforms.
There’s the fact that cryptocurrencies are highly volatile with the value of even the top coins experiencing fluctuations over the short term, as well as the long. This can sometimes mean that the funds in your gambling account could be worth less than they were when you initially made your deposits.
Is Crypto Gambling Legit?
Much like traditional iGaming, the laws that govern playing with cryptocurrencies vary from country to country or, in the case of the US, from state to state. That doesn’t mean, however, that as a whole crypto gambling isn’t legit, it’s perfectly legal in countries that legislate both online real money gaming and the purchase and use of cryptocurrencies.
As a responsible gamer, the onus is on you to double-check which activities you do in your country (or state) of residence, and you should only be using reputable gambling platforms and crypto marketplaces. Saying that, however, some countries have banned crypto outright — China, Egypt, and Qatar, for instance. In the UK, Australia, and Canada, crypto gambling is just as legal as any other method of iGaming. While the US takes the same state-by-state approach it’s adopted since 2018.
How Can I Start Betting with Crypto?
Well, to start with you’ll need to purchase some crypto coins! Make sure you know which currencies you can use on the platform on which you wish to play. This is because most operators will accept more than one. Then, head to a cryptocurrency exchange to purchase your chosen currency. You’ll need to “store” your tokens in a crypto wallet before you can deposit them, but this will be the same place to where you’ll eventually withdraw your crypto winnings.
As far as what games and activities you can wager on, that all depends on the casino or bookies you’ve joined. In most cases, you’ll be able to access the platform’s entire portfolio of games or betting markets, as you would when wagering any other type of currency.